Last month GamePolitics devoted quite a bit of ink to a controversy which raged in Boston over subway car ads for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.
Now from the Boston Herald comes word that the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) has yielded to local political pressure and will no longer accept ads for games rated M (17 and older) and AO (adults only). Since there are no AO games, this means that the MBTA has, in effect, banned all M-rated game advertising.
The Herald reports that transit chief Daniel Grabauskas, in consultation with MBTA attorneys, decided that if X-rated movie ads were unacceptable on Boston’s buses and trains, so were ads for M-rated games. Said Grabauskas:
We don’t want to offend our riders.
Harvard’s Susan Linn, co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, the advocacy organization which initiated the call for the removal of the GTA ads, commented:
We are thrilled that the MBTA has been so responsive to community concerns. The children of Boston can now ride the MBTA without being targets for advertising that glorifies violence… (the MBTA decision) sends a strong message to the videogame industry that public property cannot be used to promote violence to children. We hope that other cities will follow suit.
Ms. Linn is the author of Consuming Kids: Protecting Our Children From the Onslaught of Marketing & Advertising.